7 Common Digestive Diseases and Treatments


If you are like most people, you don’t like talking about your digestive problems. But you don’t have to suffer in silence. Gastroenterology specialists today can provide significant relief for most, if not all, digestive disorders. Here is a list of 7 common digestive diseases and their treatments:

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): Caused by chronic acid reflux into your esophagus, GERD can cause heartburn, bloating, trouble swallowing, chest pain, sore throat, and tooth erosion. Treatment generally involves avoiding foods that trigger reflux, taking antacids or other medications that reduce the secretion of gastric juices. Advanced cases of GERD may require surgical treatment.

Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD): A common disorder that affects between 25 to 45 million Americans. Symptoms of the disease include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and abdominal discomfort. Treatment involves avoiding known triggers that irritate the bowels such as dairy products, caffeine, or gas-producing foods; and consuming low-fat, high-fiber foods.

Celiac Disease: The disease is characterized by a sensitivity to gluten (a type of protein found in wheat, barley, and rye) that causes your immune system to attack the small intestines preventing proper absorption of food. Symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation. The only treatment for celiac disease is to completely avoiding gluten.

Crohn’s Disease: It is an inflammatory bowel condition that commonly affects the terminal ileum. The exact cause of the condition is unclear. Symptoms include abdominal pain, weight loss, fever, and rectal bleeding. Treatment options include pain relievers, immunosuppressant medication, and surgery.

Gallstones: According to the American Gastroenterology Association about 25 million Americans have gallstones with approximately 1 million new cases being diagnosed every year. Gallstones may cause sharp pain in the upper right quadrant of your abdomen. The standard treatment for symptomatic gallstones is gallbladder removal.

Hemorrhoids: They are swollen veins located at the end of the digestive tract near your anus. Hemorrhoids can be painful, itchy, and bleed resulting in bright red blood in the toilet bowl when moving your bowels. It is a very common condition that affects nearly 75% of Americans above the age of 45. Treatment involves eating more of fiber-rich foods, drinking plenty of water, and exercising. Over-the-counter creams and suppositories may provide pain relief. In cases of severe hemorrhoids, surgical removal may be necessary.

Diverticulitis: The condition is characterized by formation of pouches in the wall of the colon that become infected and inflamed. Symptoms include severe pain, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Mild cases of diverticulitis can be treated with a clear liquid diet and antibiotics. More severe forms of the disease may require removal of part of the colon. A high-fiber diet with lots of fruits and vegetables can help prevent diverticulitis.

If you are suffering with any of the symptoms mentioned above, please do not delay consulting your doctor or a gastroenterologist near you.